(Before you start reading: this piece answers questions I've had almost exclusively from my female readers, but if you’re a male (or anyone else!) who wants a slimmer waist, rock on with your bad self!)
"How Can I Get A Flatter Stomach?"
You can probably hear me rolling my eyes right now from all the way over here.
People ask me all the time how they can get a slimmer waist/ curvier figure/ flatter stomach/ how to lose belly fat/ grow their glutes (butt muscles), or some other variation of this request.
Let’s be clear - I’m not rolling my eyes because that’s a stupid question, or because I want to patronise the person asking it. No, it’s because every time someone asks me that question, it reminds me just how much people are affected by today’s impossible beauty standards.
Maybe you want to look a little better and feel more attractive. That’s cool.
It could be that you want to become a Victoria Secret model, and you need to work on your body. Get it, girl!
Perhaps you want to improve your waist to hip ratio because your doctor has told you that you’re overweight and you need to take better care of your health. I respect that.
Whatever your motivation, I’m going to answer this question once and for all today, but first I need to let you know a few extremely important things:
- Your value has little or nothing to do with your appearance;
- There are many different ways for you to look and feel better other than getting a slimmer waist;
- Aiming for a figure that is not naturally your own is an insult to your beautiful body and genetics;
- Weight loss supplements, crash diets, and short-term body transformation programmes are not a healthy or sustainable solution;
- Before committing, you need to reflect on why this is a goal for you, and what difference achieving it will create in your life;
- If you’ve tried before and couldn’t follow through, that’s another sign that you don’t actually care about this goal, you just think you should work towards it for whatever reason.
Making changes to your physical appearance isn’t always an easy task. You have to be prepared to put in consistent effort and be very patient. If, after reflecting, you realise that your feeling is more “yeah, that would be cool,” than “this is essential to my health and wellbeing and I’m excited to put in WERK!” then please, please, find something else to do with your time that makes you genuinely healthier and truly lights you up as a human being.
Exercises For A Curvier Figure
Pro Tip #1 - Stand Up Straight
You can make an immediate difference to your appearance just by standing and moving around in a way that allows your body to look its best. This short video demonstrates how to set yourself up for perfect posture:
Pro Tip #2 - Strengthen Your Deep Abdominal Muscles
Surprisingly enough, I’m not going to suggest you start doing a load of abs exercises. Whilst some muscle tone in your abdominals will provide your waist with definition, building up too much in this area can thicken your waist, rather than slim it down. That said, it takes a LOT of work and some pretty heavy lifting to widen a waist, so don’t shy away from training your core.
The TVA vacuum (TVA refers to the transverse abdominis muscle) is an exercise that has been used by female and male bikini athletes and bodybuilders for many years to help them create a slender midline. It involves strengthening the deep abdominal muscles that hold your organs in and support your spine. Here’s a demo:
Discover the 10 lifestyle foundations you need in place to optimise your health, fitness and wellbeing...
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Pro Tip #3 - Maintain Healthy Body Fat Levels
For a healthy appearance, you actually have to be healthy! You may need to lose some body fat in order to see a more defined figure, in which case I’d strongly recommend speaking to a reputable professional who can help you set clear goals and strategies for healthy weight loss that are tailored to you.
Then again, you may not need to lose any body fat at all! Many people convince themselves that they’re “fat” and “need to lose weight”, when really they could just do with building some healthy muscle tone and gaining the confidence to love their body the way it is. Could this be you?
It’s essential to remember that you absolutely cannot “spot reduce” body fat. That means that you can’t burn it off one specific area and not others. Any supplement or product on the market that suggests it can help you burn fat from one body part is LYING. Sorry, but that’s just the way it works.
That said, your genetics and hormone status dictate where you store body fat: this is why we see such a gorgeous variety of pear, apple, athletic, hourglass, etc shaped figures. Some studies suggest that people with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol store fat on their bellies more so than anywhere else, but it’s unclear how we can use these vague results (if accurate) to shape our bodies. Regardless, it’s good practise to manage your stress, for example with meditation, at the very least to keep your mental wellbeing in check.
Pro Tip #4 - Build Muscle (In The Right Places)
Experts who train bikini athletes and bodybuilders know that it’s easier to make muscles bigger than it is to change the proportions of a person’s frame or skeleton. That’s why professionals in this industry focus on building muscles in the hips, butt, upper back, and shoulders to create the illusion of a slimmer waist. Smart, huh!?
My personal preference is to stick with the gymnastics movements that I enjoy for my upper body (handstands and pull-ups), and focus my resistance training more heavily on my lower body. Here are some of my favourite glute exercises you can incorporate into your training:
Ready To Transform Your Body?
"Nope, this isn't for me"
Excellent! Well done for shutting the door on a path that doesn’t fully align with what you want. That puts you one step closer to discovering what you really do want.
"Hmm... I'm not sure"
Then answer me this: what is your number one priority when it comes to your fitness? Chances are, it’s not to have a slimmer waist, but you might get one as an awesome by-product of training towards something you genuinely care about.
"Yes! I'm so ready"
Booyah! Get excited about putting that work in my friend! I hope the tips above have given you a useful starting point for your training.
I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below and let me know how you plan to use... or not use the information in this article!